9   +   10   =  

The Black Dahlia Murder – Abysmal (Metal Blade)

Genre: Death Metal

The Black Dahlia Murder must surely be one of death metal’s hardest working outfits – both in the studio and on tour. Abysmal is the Michigan act’s third album in five years and although it doesn’t top 2010’s Ritual or 2013’s career peak, Everblack, it’s a solid effort that’s as vicious in its delivery as anything that the band have unleashed to date.

Ok, so it feels a bit TBDM-by-numbers in places (Re-Faced is a good example) but when Trevor Strnad and the boys raise their game, they really do it in style: Vlad, Son of the Dragon, for instance, is one of the finest songs the quintet have ever written – driven by a monstrous melodeath riff and peppered with blazing solos, it distills their trademark sound into three glorious minutes.

The Fog is another gem, twisting and turning across a soundscape of nuclear blastbeats, pummelling kick drums and melodic leadwork.

Will Abysmal’s release see The Black Dahlia Murder add further acolytes to their loyal fanbase? It’s doubtful, as this opus keeps largely to their tried and tested sonic assault… and shows little evolution.

However, they can still be proud of what they’ve achieved here: a devastating, technically flawless death metal album which barely lets up or a second.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 7.5/10 Murder Charge